N.Y. Times: Musicians Worry About Security In Wake Of Attacks
June 16, 2016 at 12:13 PM (PT)
The NEW YORK TIMES spoke to several performers, managers and security officials after the murder of YOUTUBE star CHRISTINA GRIMMIE last weekend in ORLANDO by a deranged fan.
TIFFANY ALVORD, an independent singer with a YOUTUBE following of 2.8 million people, said "interacting with fans in person is her favorite part of playing concerts."
“On YOUTUBE, I perform to a camera, and all I see is numbers and names,” she said. “Meeting fans and seeing faces makes it real.”
She also told a story of a male fan who traveled to LOS ANGELS from GERMANY to see her perform, approaching her onstage with a teddy bear, trying to kiss her, then joining the line for a post-show meet-and-greet with her.
Last month, one person was killed in a shooting during a T.I. concert at the NEW YORK club IRVING PLAZA, while last NOVEMBER, 90 people died when terrorists attacked an EAGLES OF DEATH METAL rock show at the BATACLAN in PARIS.
The article goes on to say that artists "remain concerned about navigating the need for fan engagement and their own safety anxieties," especially in this social media age where all their moves are made public.
While there are several instances of fans killing musical performers -- including JOHN LENNON, SELENA and PANTERA guitarist DARELL ABBOTT -- it is still relative rare, but musicians have increasingly been forced to rely on live shows with the attendant meet-and-greets to offset declining album sales.
“It’s part of the job description, really,” said the country singer CHELY WRIGHT, who wrote on FACEBOOK after GRIMMIE’s murder that she couldn’t count “how many times I’ve been at the merch table signing and had a real, reasonable fear that I was in danger.” The pop duo TEGAN AND SARA added on TWITTER: “We too feel like this. It’s made connecting with fans such a complicated experience in recent years.”
WRIGHT described how she has worked with law enforcement and keeps a file of potentially dangerous individuals. She also has a secret signal with her tour manager to indicate that she feels unsafe during fan interactions.
“I’m really nervous about the shows that I have coming up that are L.G.B.T. specific,” said WRIGHT, who came out as a lesbian in 2010.
JUSTIN BIEBER canceled the V.I.P. meet-and-greets on his “Purpose” tour earlier this year, with BKSTG, the company behind the V.I.P. packages (priced between $900 and $2,000), citing “a security incident that caused our team to have to meet and rethink how meet-and-greets were handled.”
BIEBER wrote on INSTAGRAM: “I always leave feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression" after fan interactions.
BEST COAST's BETHANY COSENTINO also weighed in on fan involvement, especially online. "A lot of females are attacked based on appearance, it feels a lot more personal.”
ALVORD knew GRIMMIE from the YOUTUBE community, and has been especially shaken by what happened.
“The first thing my parents said is, one: ‘You’re staying home,’” she said. “And two: ‘Is following your dreams worth it if it means risking your life?' Any one of us could’ve been in this situation.
“For all the thousands and thousands of fans that say I inspire them and help them, there is probably just a handful that have a twisted perspective. But it only takes one of them to be a threat. It only takes one to pull the trigger.”